How to sync with Google Drive for desktop

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This guide is for people who mainly work with their documents in Google Drive and want the option of working with files on their desktop.

What does syncing do?

Syncing with Google Drive for desktop lists the folders and files stored in your Google Drive as shortcuts in Google Drive (G:) on your computer. Any required access to files and folders offline must be manually set up while you are online.

Note: Before carrying out the next steps, allow for lots of files/folders possibly taking several hours to sync to Google Drive.

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Checking you've set up streaming

  1. Check you are signed into your school Google account.
  2. Click the Google Drive for desktop icon Triangular google drive icon.  on your taskbar - you may need to select the arrow to view hidden applications:
    Arrow pointing up on bottom of computer screen to google drive icon.
    The Google Drive for desktop app will open.
    Screenshot of settings cog with 'Preferences' selected.
  3. Click on the settings cog on the top right of the app (‘1’ in the image above).
  4. Select Preferences (‘2’ in the image above).
    You will now see:
    Screenshot of Google Drive programme with 'Stream files' selected.
  5. Click on Google Drive.
  6. Select Stream files.
  7. Close the window.

Setting up folders for offline access

To make documents (other than Google Docs, Sheets etc.) available for editing and updating when you are offline:

  1. Open File Explorer.
    Screenshot of file explorer with Google Drive selected, 'My Drive' selected.
  2. Double click on Google Drive (G:) (‘1’ in the image above).
  3. Open My Drive (‘2’ in the image above).
    'Make available offline on Windows' highlighted, 'offline access' selected, tick next to 'available offline'.
  4. Right click on the folder in My Drive you wish to make available offline (‘1’ in the image above).
  5. Select Offline access (‘2’ in the image above).
  6. Select Available offline (‘3’ in the image above).

Once the folder has synced onto your device, the cloud icon will change to a tick. The image below shows the icons for:

  • ‘1’ – syncing/backing up
  • ‘2’ – online only
  • ‘3’ – available offline.
    List of icons reading 'Demo Docs', 'Offline Google Document', 'Offline Ms Word Doc'.

How to edit a Word document online

If you're online and want to edit the Word document directly in Google Drive online:

Screenshot of box with 'Open with Google Docs' selected.

  1. Right click on the file name.
  2. Select Open with Google Docs.

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